Transfiguration (Preobrazhennia Hospodnie or Spas). A church and ritual holiday (see Church holidays) observed on 19 August (6 August OS). This feast, which commemorates a demonstration by Jesus Christ of his divinity before three apostles on the top of Mount Tabor, was in practice a celebration of the transition from summer to fall. The most obvious folk tradition relating to the day consisted of the blessing of fruits (particularly apples and pears), wreaths of wheat or rye (by women), a variety of grains, and herbs. A social proscription existed against eating fruits before the feast day, when they could be properly blessed. The wreaths were used in conjunction with practices related to harvest rituals. The grains were believed to possess magical qualities and were kept in homes to guard the inhabitants from bad weather and ill health. The herbs were commonly placed in the coffin of deceased family members, usually under the head. The importance of the Transfiguration as a feast day was underlined by its frequent use in colloquial conversation as a standard for measuring time.

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